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Wednesday, 27 July 1921

Senator BENNY (South Australia) . - I support the amendment. There is a growing' tendency in legislation to ignore the good old principle that no man shall be deemed to be guilty until he has been proved so. It is all very well to say that that principle has been violated in other Acts, such, for example, as the Gaming Act and the Insolvency Act. So much the more shame to the Legislatures responsible!. If a man is guilty of murder, whose duty is it to find him so? Is it his duty to come forward and confess? Is it not the duty of the Crown to search for evidence, and to tender it before a Court? Whereupon, if the evidence is not deemed sufficient or satisfactory, the accused is dismissed. In this clause, one is asked to assume .from the outset that the accused is guilty. The tendency of modern statute law is to ignore the old common law principle. Honorable senators should take a stand against that tendency. The Government should be required to accept the onus of proving that a person is guilty. And I am bound to say, in this connexion, that if the ..accused party can get out of it, good luck to him!

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